A provincial politician in Québec has called for an investigation after players in on a Québec Maritime Junior Hockey League team were pictured wearing English-only gear celebrating their playoff berth.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois, took to Twitter on Wednesday, March 27, to decry shirts and hoodies worn by players on the Drummondville Voltigeurs that read “2024 GILLES-COURTEAU TROPHY PLAYOFFS” with no French equivalent alongside.

Courtesy @PaulPlamondon / Twitter

“It’s very worrying to see that the league is not doing its job to this extent. Even the Montreal Canadiens, who play in a North American league of international scope, have never dared to go this far in their lack of consideration towards the Frenchman,” St-Pierre Plamondon tweeted (translated to English by Google). “The QMJHL is the QUÉBEC league responsible for the development of our young Quebec players. Its common and official language should be French.”

The PQ leader also posted a photo of Chicoutimi Sagueneens players with motivational slogans on the wall behind them in English.

Courtesy @PaulPlamondon / Twitter

The PQ currently hold only four of the 125 seats in the National Assembly of Québec. The Coalition Avenir Québec holds 89, while the Québec Liberal Party is the official opposition with 19.

In response, French Language Minister Jean-Françcois Roberge told reporters in Québec City on Thursday that he intended to file a complaint with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) over the matter. “I think that this does not respect — at the very least — the principle of the law,” he said, as reported by the Montréal Gazette.

Sports Minister Isabelle Charest said that, because the QMJHL is a private league, she felt she didn’t have the authority to impose French on it, but she called on the league to act in good faith. “We’re in Québec and we want our young players to speak French,” she said.

A QMJHL spokesperson said on Wednesday that it had brought up the issue with the Voltigeurs, and that it was a human error. The league conceded that the shirt should have at least been bilingual.

“As soon as the league was informed, it asked the Voltigeurs to rectify the situation, which will be done,” read a league statement issued Thursday. The statement also noted that “everything happens in French at QMJHL headquarters” and that it would remind the 12 Québec-based teams of “the importance of French in their daily operations.”

Québec’s Charter of the French Language, last amended in 2023, declares that French is the official language of Québec and also “the only common language of the Québec nation and constitutes on of the foundations of its identity and distinct culture.”

The QMJHL changed its name in December 2023, with the M now standing for “Maritime” instead of “Major”. This was to recognize the six active QMJHL franchises which play in the Maritime provinces while still retaining the long-used league acronym.





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